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Sacrum Profanum Festiwal

NDPNDNC / FRDM / EMNCPTN / PHNTSM : the #16 Sacrum Profanum Festival is coming!


It is time to reveal our hand and present the programme of the 2018 Sacrum Profanum Festival, which this year is focused on four slogans: NDPNDNC / FRDM / EMNCPTN / PHNTSM. The days from the 11th to 17th of September will be the celebration of Independent Music!

The programme of the 16th Sacrum Profanum Festival will be filled with works by representatives of 11 countries: Poland, Sweden, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Lithuania, Norway, the USA, Japan and Australia. For the first time, the Festival will be attended by Orkiestra Muzyki Nowej, Red Note Ensemble, Radical Polish Ansambl, GGR Betong, Hashtag Ensemble, Fire! Orchestra and Warsztat Muzyczny. Almost all ensembles have prepared special programmes for Krakow. Once again, the Sacrum Profanum Festival will present an opportunity to listen to the beloved Arditti Quartet, Musikfabrik and Zeitkratzer ensembles. The programme also includes features related to Professor Krzysztof Penderecki’s 85th birthday, which constitute a part of the Maestro's birthday celebrations in Kraków, as well as Professor Zygmunt Krauze’s 80th birthday – including a new piece commissioned by the festival and a reminder of his older works. The Festival also recalls the 70th anniversary of the Polish Radio Choir. In line with Piotr Peszat’s work from the last year, the festival will be summed up, reported and commented on in an original and artistic way in an audio-visual piece commissioned by the festival from Jacek Sotomski. In the coming weeks, we will present detailed introductions to individual concerts, we will attempt to bring the invited artists and their works and introduce you as fully as possible to the meanders and contexts of this year's programme. “We give you a wink by introducing a three-step scale of hardcore (defined as various phenomena: extrema, loudness, complexity, moving away from classics), which can be a guide to choosing a concert. You should keep in mind that this is only a suggestion, a subjective assessment, which may resemble an attempt to universally define the spiciness of dishes in a Mexican restaurant... And so, we have three levels – ✌  for newcomers, ✌  for enthusiasts and  for insiders,” says Krzysztof Pietraszewski, the Festival curator. 


In the year where we celebrate the 100th anniversary of Poland regaining independence, NDPNDNC was chosen to be one of the Festival’s slogans. We cannot imagine that we could remain silent on this anniversary. “For us, independence means community: it is part of our identity. It is also a lack of humility and sovereignty – qualities which the composers and artists of the festival have in abundance,” says Pietraszewski. Concerts marked with this slogan present the sovereign work of Polish composers of all generations of the last century, whose compositional thought has enriched the contemporary music scene worldwide. These include Krzysztof Penderecki (sonorism, combining jazz and contemporary music), Zygmunt Krauze (unism, combining folk and contemporary music), Bogusław Schaeffer (graphic notations, musical theatre), Witold Szalonek(pioneer of using multiphones, or “combined sounds”), Agata Zubel (masterfully combining compositions with vocalism) and Marta Śniady (“new discipline”) – in total, the festival audience will have an opportunity to listen to 27 Polish artists. Ten of these compositions were composed or are being composed for the Sacrum Profanum Festival, including the previously announced opera by Alek Nowak, written for the libretto by Olga Tokarczuk and directed by Pia Partum. The entire line-up will be the largest presentation of Polish music in the history of our festival. Theidea of this stream is best reflected in the “Systems” concert, in which a carefully selected repertoire is arranged into a  review of political models of sorts: monarchy, totalitarianism, socialism, democracy and a look at the future – matriarchy. In reference to his composition Tableau Vivant , written as a response to the introduction of martial law in Poland, Krauze has composed a piece inspired by the Declaration of Human and Citizen's Rights. The programme and its concept were developed in close cooperation with the Hashtag Ensemble.

Freedom is an inherent feature of independence. Lack of constraints, right to vote, individual freedoms, respect for their right to decide for themselves, to self-determination, to express their opinions. In art, FRDM is first and foremost the author's expression and lack of censorship. It is also openness to experimentation and, finally, improvisation. The latter can be used in various proportions – we haveprepared a stream presenting the relationships between composed and improvised music. What comes into being at the junction of these two approaches to creating music? How much freedom does the composer leave the performer, to what extent is the performer an imitator of the composer's thoughts and to what extent a co-creator of the work? This issue will be tackled during the stylistically diverse concerts – from aleatorism to free improvisation. Therefore, we will enter the third genre – the meeting place of jazz and contemporary music, which will be presented at its best during the Actions concert prepared together with Mats Gustafsson and his Fire! Orchestra. The artists will play Penderecki’s title composition for a free-jazz orchestra , as well as graphic scores by Schaeffer – the precursor of this genre. We will also hear jazz standards from the 1920s – retro-futuristic arrangements presented by Zeitkratzer and songs with jazz elements, or fascinating solo dialogues by Wertmüller, Zorn and Braxton – composers who skilfully combine the two worlds – performed by Musikfabrik and Peter Brötzmann, the legendary saxophonist-improviser. The presence of Wacław Zimpel in the programme and the fact that he will help acquaint the audience with jazz sounds is also worth noting.

There can be no freedom without emancipation, without respect for minority rights and equality. There is no freedom without respect for the freedom of others. EMNCPTN reflects public sentiment and even mass mobilisation in the area of women's rights. In addition, on the 100th anniversary of Piłsudski's decree, which equated the voting rights of women and men, 2018 was declared the Year of Women's Rights by the Polish Sejm. On the 16th of September 2017, during the Conference of New Music Festivals, the Warsaw Proclamation was adopted. At the request of Krzysztof Pietraszewski, the curator of the Sacrum Profanum Festival, the proclamation was accompanied by a postulate to strive for equal presentation and ordering of works from male and female composers. This year we have joined the group of 45 festivals, which joined the Keychange initiative promoting gender equality in cultural events. We are proud to announce that among the artists whose works we present at the festival in Krakow, 47% were created by women, while 53% were created by men. This is a significant improvement in comparison to the previous years. Among the events, we also offer a concert-manifesto of the Arditti Quartet entitled Emigranci / Emigrants, almost entirely comprising the repertoire of Polish composers (Sikora, Kulenty, Buczek and Dlugoszewski). We also consider emancipation to be a rebellion and a way to break the mould, to get rid of a conservative corset. The concerts in this steam are focused on a special class of bands performing contemporary music (Zeitkratzer, Spółdzielnia Muzyczna, GGR Betong) and composers working with them (Piotr Peszat, Zbigniew Karkowski, Éliane Radigue), who together offer a completely fresh perspective at the traditionally understood issues of notation, composition, performance and broadly understood new music. It is the music of artists who often have non-academic roots, originating in the world of sound art, alternative music, improvised music, avant-garde and experimental sound. That's why we invited the $półdzielnia project to the Festival. Emancipation is understood as a way to go beyond the canon and break with academic tradition, blurring the boundaries between contemporary and alternative music – in the works representing new discipline, deep minimalism, drone and noise. The latter will be presented at its best during the concert of GGR Betong, a band that has specialised in transcribing musical ideas for this extreme aesthetic.

The three values and ideas presented above are joined, as if in opposition, by the notion of a phantasm –  because if one of them is missing, we can always preserve it in the imaginary world. It is in the alternative reality that we are looking for hope to improve the reality we live in. There, we are looking for peace and quiet, a sense of security – this is a particular kind of escapism, allowing us to run away from everyday problems, both on a micro and macro scale. Our PHNTSM is made up of myths and archetypes, which we recall in the programmes of several concerts – Medusa, Eurydice, Inanna and Aeolian. They will take us to a different, imaginary world – an opera or a musical theatre. Also metaphorically – to a world in which notions such as music, harmony or composition can gain new meanings. A world in which instruments do not resemble classical ones, but instead they are created by artists themselves in the spirit of DIY, such as Kathy Hinde's wind and air instruments or GGR Betong's noise machines. Finally, it is a stream presenting idyllic music: the above-mentioned Aeolian and the Folk Music concert with fragments taken directly from folk music. It is a concert prepared by Radical Polish Ansambl in a tribute to Zygmunt Krauze. PHNTSM is the time to catch your breath (especially during the Element concert) with a composition by Radigue for deep listening) and defence against reality.

The 2018 Sacrum Profanum Festival will not have just one motto and a single banner. The programme of this year's festival combines a concept derived from a combination of four ideas and values. The streams are not separate entities – instead, they constantly interweave, which is why each of the concerts is a part of at least two of them. A concert with elements of improvisation and new performance techniques, the repertoire of which includes a work with elements of the Polish composer's dramaturgy, basically fits into all of them. You will certainly ask why the stream names contain no vowels? We wonder to what extent we can enjoy the full range of ideas represented by these slogans and what values will supplement them during festival events.Do we really have a place to escape, a place to project our hopes? Let's see for ourselves together during the Sacrum Profanum Festival on the 11th – 17th of September in Krakow.

The City of Krakow and the Krakow Festival Office cordially invite everybody to come to the Sacrum Profanum Festival.

The project was financed from the funds of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. 


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